I'm not a fan of the "quest" movie, in which "the chosen one" must avenge the death of a "lost loved one", fighting "demonic forces" in order to "save humanity" and all that rot. (Not the serious kind, anyway. Gimme The Beastmaster any day. And I'll watch it twice!) Silent Hill: Revelation is definitely not light or comedic and sometimes the earnestness of the characters, coupled with often ridiculous expository dialogue, is tough to tolerate.
Fortunately, this flick has a lot of other stuff going for it. If you are looking for a terrific in 3D, action-packed, super-gory, nail-biter of a horror movie, you can't do any better than Silent Hill: Revelation this weekend. It's an absolutely worthy successor to the original. (Which I rather disliked. Read my original review of Silent Hill here)
The sequel picks up several years after a young child is rescued from the Satanic maw of Silent Hill by her loving mother, Rose (Radha Mitchell). Rose sacrifices herself, staying behind in the evil alternate dimension, so that daughter Heather and hubby Christopher (Sean Bean) can be free. But they are not free. Forever dodging the law and moving from place to place, when the pair finally does slow down long enough to celebrate Heather's 18th birthday all hell breaks loose. Yep. It's a rite of passage, this birthday. The Chosen One must return to reign in Silent Hill, to join forces with the demon who spawned her… or something like that. Story's secondary here.
My issue with it, as an adult filmgoer with fairly sophisticated taste, is that I'm supposed to care about a grim, glum teenager who talks about Facebook so much you'd think Mark Zuckerberg wrote the script. She also states the obvious, constantly (when the two magic pieces of a puzzle come together and glow in her hands — while she's in the pit of danger, mind you — she says out loud, "The two pieces, together." Uh, yeah, Einstein).
But she's pretty (Adelaide Clemens looks exactly like a younger Michelle Williams) and she can act (but not as good as Michelle Williams). So, there's that. The other actors are saddled with worse dialogue (one bit of cannon fodder who pops in for a minute tells Heather, "I took a 'wrong turn' and got 'lost' in 'the fog'."). Heather's love interest, played by nerdy/heartthrob type Kit Harington, has to say a lot of dumb things to fill in blanks where a voiceover might otherwise have gone. And Malcolm MacDowell, in a bit of brazen stunt casting, seems as though he actually thinks he is in The Beastmaster (sorry, Malcolm… Rip Torn beat you to it).
So — while director Michael J. Bassett may not be much of a screenwriter, he sure knows how to show a story. The visuals are magnificent! Pyramid Head never looked so menacing! And yes: there are mannequins, Robbie the Rabbit, and zombie nurses! (I'll admit I've never played the Silent Hill game, but I know the highlights and the beats… unlike the Silent Hill 2 game, P.H. doesn't brutally rape any mannequins, but there is plenty of mayhem involving the bedeviled dummies anyway.)
Bassett is bang-up in the creep-outs — the way he displays Heather's waking nightmares, though (understandably) augmented with mucho CGI, are brilliantly creepy and quite memorable. Scenes from childhood — birthday clowns, carousel ponies, and pretty pinafores — never looked so lethal.
While Silent Hill: Revelation 3D may not allay your hankering for a solid story, it'll definitely satisfy your blood-lust.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson